A ball is churning.
A small rash in my private place.
A private place at my face.
Questions attacking me.
I cannot explain.
This time, who’s to blame?
Memory goes black.
Body under attack.
Child shuts down.
Don’t bother with sound.
One thing that has always been important to me is giving my kids the life my parents didn’t. Now that I’m an adult and am able to look back to my childhood, I can say that things were much more different for me than my two youngest brothers. I look back at pictures and see them involved in the YMCA, sports, and community activities. Mom put me in Campfire for girls once and that was great! After that, nothing. I’m not sure what changed that. I made sure that my kids were involved in the community as much as possible. Volleyball, wrestling, football, archery, rugby, soccer, and gym memberships just to name a few. I felt if their time and minds were consumed by something positive, they would stay out of trouble. Which they did, thank God.
As some of my readers know, mom was abusive. Physically and mentally. I want to blame my grandfather for that but at the same time it’s almost as if, “Hey! Wait a minute. I was abused by you but I haven’t passed that onto my children.” Don’t get me wrong, I demand that my kids have respect and that they learn to be polite and I don’t give two thoughts to swatting them on the ass when I think it’s deserved. Of course, they are adults and teens now but you get my point. Perhaps why they are pretty darn good people today, in my opinion. Mom was a bit more than just swatting on the ass. She once threw my middle brother across the kitchen floor by his shirt. His young body slammed into the fridge with a great big “thump.” She once had me pinned up against a wall for wearing her shirt without permission when she did indeed give me that permission earlier that morning. If you have all week, I’d be happy to go into every fight we’ve ever had. Perhaps that can be saved for another blog.
One thing’s for sure, I knew there was no way in hell I was going to treat my kids as she did us. I haven’t been the perfect mother but I’ve done the best that I can with the tools that were NOT given to me in life. I’m sure as mom got older, she’s thinking the same thing. BUT! Could she have broken that chain? I mean, can I really expect her to learn the same as I did? Did it mean that much to her to change? Was she so stuck in habit that she didn’t really know what she was doing was wrong? I may not have all the answers and as an adult, I’m OK with that. There are still memories that define a bit of who I am today but again, it’s just a memory. I’ve confronted her numerous times over the years but it’s usually the same response. “I don’t remember that.” “That didn’t happen.” “Oh Tonia, that was long ago.” I think it’s best to sweep everything (as my family does) under the rug. We are very close as adults today and I’d like to keep it that way.
I want to thank Teri S. for the writing idea. Reminding me that everything I do can and will trickle down to my kids and for teaching me that change is possible.
I smell propane. I see the pea green shag carpet. It reeks in here. I climb up the small camper stairs and into hell. I know he’s there. I know he approached my mother asking if I could come to his camper to help him clean. Why would she let a young kid come help this dirty, selfish, disgusting, devil? Help me.
This has been going on for years. Too many years. God, why so many? He used to come over late at night when both my parents were gone. Sit on the couch with me and “help” me with my scholastic while his hand fondled my breasts. I don’t remember anything past that. I don’t remember him leaving. That bothers me. It’s hard for me to make it make sense to anyone when I don’t remember all the details. All I remember is that….something happened. It’s more a feeling than it is a vision. Many years later, he was charged with sexually assaulting a handicapped, wheel-chair bound woman. Guilt still lives within me.
Reminisce with me. I’m five. I had a little friend in the trailer court we lived in. She was my only friend there and I adored her. She was raised by her father and I’m not sure where her mother was. One day, her father took me to the back of his trailer. There, he pulled down his sweat pants and showed me his penis. Remember, I was five. Tall enough to be face to penis. Darkness. I remember nothing from that point on. What happened? Years later this friend magically shows up in high school. The last time I saw her we were both six years old. I approached her excitedly one day in the cafeteria. “Hey, (name)! How are you? I haven’t seen you in years!” Her reply still bothers me today. “Stay away from me, Tonia and don’t talk to me again” After that, I never saw her in school again. That reply left me with more questions than ever. Why would she not want to talk to me? We were best friends so many years ago and I don’t remember leaving on a bad note. What the hell happened?!
At 13 I was already out of control and a major pain in my mother’s ass. She sent me to group counseling with teens that were “just like me.” The groups were mixed with boys and girls and to this day I have no idea why, since a lot of us spoke about our past sexual secrets. After group, we would sit in the back yard while waiting for our parents to pick us up. One boy sat with me in the backyard. We talked for a few minutes then out of no where, he grabs my breast and runs. I had no idea what the hell to think. Another person saw what happened and reported it to one of the counselors. Before I know it, I am in a room with my mother, counselor, and two other adults. They were apologizing for what happened. I don’t remember too much of the conversation but they kept telling me how it was wrong and that they were going to change the way things happened there. Honestly, it wasn’t a big deal to me for whatever reason. I can’t even tell you why I felt that way.
Years of therapy and counseling have not brought out what happened to me as a child. These are only few of the instances I remember the most of. There are several over the years but I’m not able to lay them out to make sense. What I have learned is, it’s not OK. This is my body and no one is allowed to touch it unless I say it’s OK. I write these blogs in hopes that many of my readers can relate and perhaps heal with me. If you are being abused, speak out! I wish I would have. Perhaps I would feel a better sense of relief knowing that they weren’t doing it to anyone else. You too can take back control.
Call 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.